Quorum sensing: an emerging link between temperature and membrane biofouling in membrane bioreactors

Chang Hyun Nahm, Keehong Kim, Sojin Min, Hosung Lee, Dowon Chae, Kibaek Lee, Kwang Ho Choo, Chung Hak Lee, Ismail Koyuncu, Pyung Kyu Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lab-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) were investigated at 12, 18, and 25 °C to identify the correlation between quorum sensing (QS) and biofouling at different temperatures. The lower the reactor temperature, the more severe the membrane biofouling measured in terms of the transmembrane pressure (TMP) during filtration. More extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) that cause biofouling were produced at 18 °C than at 25 °C, particularly polysaccharides, closely associated with QS via the production of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL). However, at 12 °C, AHL production decreased, but the release of EPSs due to deflocculation increased the soluble EPS concentration. To confirm the temperature effect related to QS, bacteria producing AHL were isolated from MBR sludge and identified as Aeromonas sp., Leclercia sp., and Enterobacter sp. through a 16S rDNA sequencing analysis. Batch assays at 18 and 25 °C showed that there was a positive correlation between QS through AHL and biofilm formation in that temperature range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 21


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Nahm, C. H., Kim, K., Min, S., Lee, H., Chae, D., Lee, K., Choo, K. H., Lee, C. H., Koyuncu, I., & Park, P. K. (2019). Quorum sensing: an emerging link between temperature and membrane biofouling in membrane bioreactors. Biofouling, 35(4), 443-453. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927014.2019.1611789